My Book ProgressCombat HQ; Kampfgruppe CommanderPhase:Writing90%
Kampfgruppe Commander is the first rules expansion for Combat HQ.
Kampfgruppe Commander presents the Combat HQ Army Builder System. Using the battalion as the basic building block, the Army Builder lets you create a huge range of customized battle groups.
Kampfgruppe Commander Includes:
For an extra 7 points you get a faster vehicle. A vehicle that can shoot and scoot and also be used for triple moves with only a small chance of it breaking down.
Slower, but more capable of taking the fight to the enemy, the StuG III can be pushed forwards to support the infantry, Panzer IVs and Panthers. It can take more fire than the M18, but has to stay in the fight.
The M18 is more expensive than the StuG III, but only marginally so. It all depends on how you use them tactically. Push your M18 platoon forward and it’s much likely to be Dispersed than a StuG III one. Deploy it as a hidden unit or in a Blind and it can hit and run, then use its fast speed and good reliability to harass the German Battle Group’s flanks.
The StuG III is cheaper and is a good hard hitting tank destroyer. It can advance and take fire with a good chance of surviving which makes it superior to the M18 in an attacking role.
As a German player you have a wide variety of tank destroyers to choose from.
Jadgpanzer IV L43/L48
The Jadgpanzer IV L43/L48 is almost identical to the StuG III. It has the same gun and Reaction Dice, but has the shoot and scoot ability. It costs 110 points (11 more than the StuG III), but like the StuG III it has average speed and reliability. More expensive than an M18, it may or may not be better. It all depends on how you intend to use it.
Let’s break the stats down and do a direct comparison:
Available: They both were available in 1943.
Type: Both are Medium AFVs and are Tank Destroyers
Move: The StuG is Average (6+1D); the M18 is Fast (6+1Dx2). As the M18 moves faster than the StuG it can advance quickly. Which is useful when attacking or entering on a Reserve move, or moving from one side of the table to another.
Reliability: With Good Reliability the M18 only risks a breakdown on triple move. The StuG has Average Reliability and may breakdown when making a Double Move.
Reaction: The StuG III has 6D Reaction against Anti-Tank fire and 5D against Artillery. The M18 has only 4D against Anti-Tank fire and is also open-topped which reduces its Reaction Dice to 3D against artillery. In terms of battlefield survivability, the M18 is more vulnerable than the StuG III.
Weapon: Both vehicles have similar weapons: the M18 has a slightly greater range than the StuG III, but they both have FP: 3D and AT: 7D. While the M18 can out-range the StuG, the 4” difference is marginal.
Notes: The StuG III and M18, although both are Tank Destroyers, have different special abilities.
The StuG is restricted to a180° fire arc which means it has to move before it can fire to its flanks and rear. As this may trigger opportunity fire, the StuG is best used to support other units rather than being in the front line of an attack.
The StuG III also has a low profile which increases its Reaction Dice from 5D to 6D.
The M18 is open-topped which makes it vulnerable to enemy artillery, mortars and small arms fire. This is potentially a huge weakness.
However, the M18 can shoot and scoot. It can fire and immediately move backwards giving it a +2D bonus to its Reaction Dice. It can also break-off when fired also giving it a +2D bonus to Reaction. When shooting and scooting or breaking-off, the M18 has 6D Reaction which is the same as the StuG III.
The M18’s fast speed and good reliability allows it to move rapidly across the battlefield. It can break-off when targetted by enemy artillery, mortars and small arms increasing its Reaction Dice to 5D.
The StuG III has 5D reaction against artillery – the same as an M18 shooting and scooting or breaking-off. When targetted by artillery, the StuG has to take the fire while the M18 can break-off.
So, if Shoot and Scoot is such a good special ability, why doesn’t the StuG III have it?
The StuG III was originally designed to provide close support to infantry units. The StuG III was later up-gunned to make it capable of dealing with enemy tanks. Its battlefield role changed from close support to tank destroyer, but it was still intended that the StuG III as an assault gun should be used in an aggressive role.
Later German tank destroyers were designated as Jagdpanzers (hunting tanks) and gain the shoot and scoot special ability. However, the Jagdtiger is too heavy and slow to shoot and scoot.
How important are speed, reliability and shoot and scoot?
Anthony F Wengraitis posted a comment on the M18 after I shared a video on Facebook: “Which really isn’t saying much when you compare it to a StugIII.”
Which had me looking at the Combat HQ statistics for the StuG III Ausf G and the M18 “Hellcat” Gun Motor Carriage to see how they rated using the Army Builder Points System.
The M18 costs 7 more points than the StuG III; an increase of 6.8%. It’s not a great difference, but it’s still a difference. So if the StuG is superior to the M18, why does an M18 cost more points?